What does the reunification of the Society of St Pius X with Rome mean to the great mass of the world’s inhabitants, even to the large number of its Catholics? The answer must be, very little. Similarly when passengers on the Titanic saw a team of engineers going below decks to investigate something or other, they may not have shown much interest, but as soon as they came to learn that their great ship was doomed, their interest must have grown much keener. The Catholic Church hit the iceberg of Vatican II over 50 years ago. A great engineer of the Church warned the Church’s captain of what had happened, and what would be the result, and he showed how to stop the Church from sinking. Alas, Archbishop Lefebvre was not heeded by the captains then or since, and his discouraged successors prefer today to listen to the misguided captains, who are, if the Society no longer shows the true way out, to be pitied.
Let us recall the last six years of the process of reunification, and assess where it is at today.
The decisive step in that process was the Society’s General Chapter of 2012, where it renounced the Archbishop’s fundamental principle that without a doctrinal agreement between the Society and Rome, no merely practical agreement could serve the Church. This is because a Catholic is a Catholic firstly by his subjective virtue of faith submitting his mind and will to the objective creed of the Church’s Faith. What the error of subjectivism does is to render the objective Faith subjective, so that I become free to believe, and consequently to behave, how I like. Like believing 2 and 2 are 4, OR 5 OR 6 OR 6,000,000. This unfaith of Vatican II the Society essentially adopted in 2012, yet Society leaders immediately began reassuring their priests and laity that nothing essential had changed in the Society. BUT –
In 2013 began a series of publicly admitted meetings in Rome with the Roman authorities, to prepare a step-by-step process of full recognition. This process duly followed:—
In 2014, There were visits of Roman dignitaries to SSPX seminaries, and there was the temporary Jubilee “concession” of official jurisdiction for SSPX Confessions.
In 2015, the “concession” on Confessions and Extreme-Unction was made permanent.
In 2016, priestly ordinations in the SSPX were no longer to be punished by suspension “a divinis.”
In 2017, Society Marriages were rendered “licit” by the participation of a Newchurch priest as witness.
In 2018, the SSPX General Chapter elected for their General Council three men who are no tigers of the Faith, and created two new positions alongside them (General Councillors) to enable Bishop Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger to retain their power as the two leading tigers of reunification.
And in 2019? – Rome has just re-absorbed the Commission Ecclesia Dei (ED) into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), from which it was hived off in 1988 to draw back to Rome Catholics tempted by the Society’s episcopal consecrations to follow the Archbishop instead of Rome. As such, ED was meant to be relatively kind to Traditionalists. But Pope Francis has no time for Tradition. Therefore since the Newsociety now agrees with Rome that there is no longer the clash with Rome that there was in 1988, he has put an end to ED. But ED was kind to Tradition, whereas the CDF are tigers of the Newchurch. Like Little Red Riding Hood, the Newsociety is throwing itself into the jaws of Rome – “Oh, sweet Big Bad Rome, what lovely teeth you have!” “All the better to eat you up with, you silly child!”
And the Society? Just as it will be happy if Rome dissolves ED because the CFD will then treat it as belonging fully to the Church, so it risks being happy if Rome were to attach to the Society two relatively decent Newbishops to look after its need of Ordinations and Confirmations, but from outside the Society and always under Rome’s own control. On Rome’s part it would be a clever move, closing the trap even tighter on what remains of the Archbishop’s Society. And how many Newsociety priests will even see that here is “a sea of troubles,” let alone “take arms, to end them” (Hamlet)? Not many, one may fear.